How to Make Your Case

When you want to prove something is true, it’s best to be able to have the facts, just like a detective solving a case. Then you use your facts to make a convincing argument about your topic.

To make a good case, think like a detective

A good detective looks for clues and evidence to prove a point. On Case Maker website, your evidence will be found by observing and studying primary sources. You can organize each source into a virtual folders in the Case Maker to organize your thoughts.

What is a primary source?
A primary source is a piece of first-hand evidence about an event, object, or person. Primary sources include photos, historical and legal documents, video and audio recordings, speeches, political cartoons, and letters. The primary sources in the Case Maker website come from the Library of Congress.

Why are primary sources important?

Primary sources are direct evidence about a historical topic. For example, a primary source could be an interview of someone who witnessed an event, or a photograph of something that happened. Primary sources are perfect for your research and investigation because they are facts and evidence from real events at the time they happened — detective’s clues!

How can primary sources help me gather clues?

There are lots of pieces of evidence in a primary source. These clues range from who created the primary source and what year it’s from, to analyzing the details just like a detective with a magnifying glass.

Your primary sources analysis should follow three steps:

  1. OBSERVE. Look at the source in detail and note all the specifics that you see. Are there people? What place is shown? Is there text? Are the images or symbols? Is there anything that looks or sounds strange to you?
  2. REFLECT. Why do you think this was made? Who do you think was the audience for this primary source? Can you tell anything that was important at the time it was made? What does this primary source tell you about what the people who made it knew or what they didn’t? If someone created this today, how might it be different?
  3. QUESTION. What do you wonder about who made it? What do you wonder about how they made it? Why do you think they made it? What do you wonder about the where this primary source was made?

Write down what you observe, reflect and question to gather evidence

You’ll need to show your detective skills at work. For each primary source you review, be sure to include lots of details about what you see, your thoughts about why you feel it’s important, and why it helps prove your point.

Remember that you can use a primary source more than once to make your case — for example, you might want to focus your analysis on a specific sign in a photo and then also focus on the people in that same photo to make another important observation.

How do I prove my case?

You can organize your pieces of evidence (the primary sources) into virtual folders that you can customize. Place your primary sources and notes into your case folders. When you’re done, you’ll have a custom website address just for your case, where you can walk through and even present each primary source you chose and described.

To get started, get a case code from your teacher and enter it on the home page.